Melanie Hicken & Blake Ellis : Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau

Melanie Hicken & Blake Ellis

award-winning female investigative duo at CNN

Blake Ellis and Melanie Hicken are an award-winning female investigative duo at CNN who have exposed everything from sexual abuse in nursing homes to the predatory tactics of government debt collectors.

They have made it their mission to document disturbing and little-known forms of elder abuse, whether it’s mail fraudsters stealing millions of dollars from those suffering with dementia or drug companies targeting elderly nursing home patients.

Their work has been honored by the International Association of Broadcasting, the National Press Club, the Peabody Awards, the News Guild, the Society of American Business Editors and Writers, the Newswomen's Club of New York, the National Endowment for Financial Education, the Radio Television Digital News Association and the National Association of Consumer Advocates.

Their upcoming book, A Deal with the Devil, chronicles their journey to uncover the perpetrators of one of the longest-running mail frauds in history.

While investigating financial crimes, Ellis and Hicken were intrigued by reports that elderly Americans were giving away thousands of dollars to mail-in schemes. With a little digging, they soon discovered a shocking true story.

Victims received personalized letters from a woman who, claiming amazing psychic powers, convinced them to send money in return for riches, good health, and good fortune. The predatory scam has continued unabated for decades, raking in more than $200 million in the United States and Canada alone—with investigators from all over the world unable to stop it. And at the center of it all—an elusive French psychic named Maria Duval.

Based on the five-part series that originally appeared on CNN’s website and was seen by more than three million people, A Deal with the Devil picks up where the series left off as Ellis and Hicken reveal more bizarre characters, follow new leads, close in on Maria Duval, and connect the dots in an edge-of-your-seat journey across the US to England and France. A Deal with the Devil is a fascinating, thrilling search for the truth and is long-form investigative journalism at its best.

The authors regularly appear on CNN and other television and radio networks to speak about their investigations. They can discuss journalism, fraud (prevention, as well as the tools and tricks to expose it), and ways to prevent and identify elder abuse.

Interested in booking Melanie Hicken & Blake Ellis to speak at your next event?

Contact Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau.

(866) 248-3049

  • Investigative journalism
  • being female investigative reporters in a male-dominated field
  • pursuing journalism as a career
  • tools for investigating fraud

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